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AF customization with the OM System OM-1

The AF performance of the OM-1 has been, compared to its predecessor, dramatically improved. Why and which techology improvements are responsible for the improvement you can find in my blog post “OM System OM-1 AI detection AF“. However you are able to even improve your auto focus performance when us the AF customization with the OM System OM-1

Options for AF customization with the OM System OM-1

Depending on the subject your are shooting, four settings improve your AF performance.

  1. Use your own AF field settings
  2. Adjust C-AF sensitivity
  3. C-AF centre priority
  4. AF home settings

The above mentioned point do have an influence in the auto focus performance. Therefore you should have a look on them. It is important to know, which settings is helpful in which situation.

Own AF field settings

Beside the default AF field settings the user is able to define his / her own presets. Beside size and form you can also define the step size. The step size influence how fast you are able to move the AF fields with in the image area. Therefore this value influences the speed how fast you can react while you are photographing. You can define your AF fields as follows.

Screenshot Om-1 to show where to define the AF Target mode settings

1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 5 and select ” AF Target Mode Settings”

Screenshot of OM-1 menu to show where you can set up the Market mode settings

2 Press “OK” and select C1. Use the right key to open the settings menu.

Screenshot OM-1 menu to show how to make the AF customization

3 Adjust the field size to your needs with the forefinger and thumb wheel. Changing the step size is possible by pressing the “Info” button.

screenshot of OM-1 menu to show how to activate the custom AF target modes

4 Confirm with “OK” button. Press again the “OK” button to activate your settings.

Which settings are useful for the AF customization with the OM System OM-1?

How are those settings helpful to increase the AF performance? Quite simple, it helps the AF algorithm to find the focus when you are using only a part of the image area for focusing. For example when you are shooting birds in flights. Most properly in this case only the upper area is relevant for the AF. When you use in this case AF field which are covering the hole width but only half of the height, then you support the AF.

A second option, is to use only a single AF point. This is helpful when you are shooting small details, like you find in macro images. In addition a single AF point is also helpful when you capture birds in tries.

In case you would like to follow a step by step tutorial you also find this on my Youtube channel here:

Adjust C-AF sensitivity

If you use continuous auto focus you can define how sensitive the AF algorithm. In this case sensitivity means the reaction speed of the AF in case of changes in the image. Adjust the C-AF sensitivity as follows.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu to show where to finde C-AF sensitivity

1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page three. Select C-AF sensitivity.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu for C-AF sensitivity settings options

2 Press “OK” and adjust the sensitivity between -2 and +2. Thereby shortens a high value and increases a low value the reaction time.

When do I use which sensitivity?

You use a high value of +1 or even +2 in case you are shooting object with fast changes. For example when you photograph a squirrel. Those small animals are moving quite fast and you never know what happens in the next second. Also the auto focus must be able to adapt fast in such kind of situation.

squirell in a tree


You use a low value of -1 or even -2 in case the auto focus should not be disturbed by changes. One example would be soccer. The camera should focus on the player you have selected, even though another player is running through your image. Same is true in case you are shooting birds in flight, which are partly covered by tries.

C-AF center priority

Especially when you use bigger AF fields the C-AF center priority is a topic. It defines which AF fields are used for focusing. Is the C-AF center priority activated the center AF field is prioritized. This means the camera use only other fields, if changes happens in more than one of the other fields. In case you would like to set AF center priority do following.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu to localize C-AF Center priority

1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 3 and select “C-AF center priority”.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu to show options for center priority

2 Confirm with “OK” and selcht select the AF preset which should use the C-AF center priority.

In which case is the C-AF center priority helpful?

The C-AF center priority helps to avoid that the algorithm uses the border fields to often. This helps you in case your are not sure that you are able to follow an object. Thus you are not able to keep it in the center of your chosen AF fields

AF home settings

In case you fast moving object speed is important. So you are able to react fast. In this case AF home settings is helpful. In case you would like to use the AF home settings do following.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu to show how to set-up Multi selector settings

1 Open the menu and navigate in the yellow gear menu to page 1. Select “Multi Selector Setting”

Screenshot of OM-1 menu

2 Press “OK” and select “Center Button”

Screenshot of OM-1 menu

3 Press “OK” again and select “HP” Confirm with “OK”.

Now the camera is coming back to the standard settings, once you press the multi selector button. In case you don’t like the standard settings you can change them as follows.

Screenshot of OM-1 menu

1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 5. Select “Set Home”

Screenshot of OM-1 menu

2 Press “OK” and define which AF field and which position you would like to have as home settings.

For all of you, who prefer to have a short move showing how to do the settings I also Lada a small movie on my YouTube channel.

E-M1 Mark III und E-M1X

You don’t have an OM-1 and would like to know how those settings are done for E-M1 Mark III or E-M1X? Then you find a small instruction in my blog post “Customize your AF points

Customize your AF points

The E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III do have already a lot of AF layout presets, which are usable in many different situations. Customize your AF points to increase your AF hitting rate. You can adjust them like follows

Customise your AF points in the menu

Screenshot OM-D menu to localize Target mode settings

1 In the gear menu select A2 “Target Mode Settings” and open the menu with the arrow right key.

Screenshot OM-D menu to show target mode settings options

2 You can program and save up to four AF field presets.

Screenshot OM-D menu to show Mode Settings location

3 To be able to select those presets you have to activate them under “Mode Settings”.

You also can watch the following film, which shows step by step how to program your AF fields.

Fast selection of images

When using a function like continuous shooting mode, ProCapture or Focus Bracketing you get very fast a lot of images. The SD card gets filled up very fast and not every image is needed. The normal way to delete single images is very time consuming and therefore not helpful. Cameras from the E-M1 series have fortunately do have a fast selection of images to easily select many images in a short time.

How fast selection of images work

Rückseite der E-M1X

1. Press the replay button to see the images on the SD card

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

2. Use the thumbwheel to switch from the single image view to the thumbnail view.

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

3. Select the first image, which you would like to select. Press and hold the movie record button.

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

4. Rotate either the forefinger wheel or thumbwheel to select the other images. You can select up to 200 images.

As soon as you have selected the images you can either delete or mark them as protected or share them with OI.share.

5 Tips to increase battery life

Even so, the modern mirrorless systems nowadays have a decent battery life, that gets you through the day, it can be yours that you get into situations where you must be economical with the remaining energy. I would like to give you a few tips and hand that will enable you to continue working as long as possible.

Tip 1
Use the display not the viewfinder to improve battery life!

Even though the back display of your camera is much bigger than the display in your electronic viewfinder, it needs much less energy. This sounds weird but is logical. The viewfinder has much more pixel and as switching pixels needs energy the viewfinder needs more energy. Besides, the refresh rate of the viewfinder is much higher than the one at the back display. This needs also more energy.

back side of E-M1 Mark III

Tip 2
Reduce display brightness!

Once you are using the back display you could optimise the setting. By reducing the brightness of the display you can save additional energy and extend battery life.

Tip 3
Switch of image stabilisation!

Olympus OM-D camera does have fantastic image stabilisation, but to be able to correct movements it needs energy. In case your battery life is at the end you have to decide whether you would still use the image stabilisation or not, but you can shoot some more images.

OM-D screen shot to reduce battery life

Tip 4
Switch off Autofocus!

Even though that manual focus in a modern camera is realised by electro motors, you are able to save energy in case you switch off the autofocus. Especially when you are shooting slow-moving object as you just have to set the focus once. The autofocus on the other side is moving the motor every time you half-press the release button. Alternatively, you could use the back button focus method, which uses the AEL/AFL button to activate focus.

OM-D screen shot AF settings to reduce battery life

Tip 5
Keep your batteries warm!

The capacity of batteries highly depends on the temperature. Working in cold conditions the battery life is much shorter than usual. Therefore I have always one battery close to my body to keep it warm, mostly in my pocket. In case the battery in-camera is dying I can use the one in my pocket.

Switching from winter to summer time

Every year in spring and autumn we have to switch the clock by one hour. In case you own an Olympus E-M1X, which has a built-in GPS receiver, and you have set-up the automatic time switch. If not, you have to do it by yourself. Otherwise, the time in the EXIF data is not the correct capture time. In case you use your smartphone to record GPS data the position in the EXIF data is wrong.

Set time with OI.share

In case you own an OM-D, which can be connected via WiFi with your phone, I recommend connecting it once with Olympus OI.share. If you selected synchronise time in the settings, the time will be adjusted just by that. How this works in detail you see in the movie on the left.

Adjust time manually

In case your camera is not equipped with WiF, you have to set the time manually.

Menu screen shot to set up time manually

Just go to the wrench menu and change the time.

Both methods are quick, but guarantee that the capture time in the EXIF data in your image is correct. This helps you in the end not only if you synchronise GPS data of your smartphone with your camera, but helps you sorting the images as well. It helps a lot when you are searching within your images.